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New Book: Tales from the Development Frontier

How did China emerge from decades of poverty and isolation to become the world’s second-largest economy? While many readers will recognize the contribution that education, hard work, or giant state-owned fi rms made to China’s recent achievements, this impressive book highlights a central, but less widely understood feature of China’s recent development: the rise of world-class manufacturing complexes that originated in the efforts of individual entrepreneurs and amily businesses in industries such as garments, shoes, and furniture and in many cases with the active investment promotion and facilitation by local governments via industrial parks and zones to overcome infrastructure bottlenecks and poor business environment.

The book delivers a clear message: light manufacturing, with its low capital requirements, limited scale economies, readily available technology, and sales potential in domestic and international markets, retains potential as a ringboard and the best hope for poor countries to expand output, employment, productivity, and exports. Just as China’s nascent producers used low labor costs to pry open markets formerly dominated by fi rms based in Hong Kong SAR, China and in aiwan, China, producers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia and other low-income nations can seize new opportunities arising from steeply rising wages and costs in China’s coastal export hubs to inject fresh momentum into their own economies. More (.pdf)... 

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